News is out that Bryant McKinnie has hired a personal trainer to go everywhere- and according to the big fella, he means EVERYWHERE- with him to get him into better shape. Can't help but wonder if that was spurred perhaps by a chat with Frazier, you know, along the lines of "Look, you have an enormous amount of potential and that's kept you safe here so far- but if you don't start showing it on the field, you're days as a Viking are numbered."
If that's the case, then SWEET- LT problem solved (?). Of course, that's assuming that this was the reason, and that McKinnie actually takes it seriously. (Does the personal trainer go to the strip clubs with him?) And boy would that be nice. Actually, you know, get something out of our so-called 'Pro Bowler' left tackle.
That said- we have several other issues on the O-line. I think center is OK, assuming Sully's injuries don't become a consistent thing- but I presume that sore calf isn't something that's going to become a career-hendering thing that rears its ugly head time and time again (like a blown ACL might). Phil Loadholt does alright at RT, and I like Anthony Herrera at guard, assuming that ACL doesn't, again, become a nagging injury.
That said- I'm just not sold on DeGear and Cook. That leaves a guard position open- right or left, take your pick. (I think Herrera is OK to be moved around, he's coming into his own.)
The thing is, an O-line is so critical to a good football team. It gives the quarterback time to throw- look at the difference that Aaron Rodgers has enjoyed behind a healthy O-line. 2009 and 2010 are night and day for the guy. To me, it's made the difference between one-and-out playoff and berth to the Super Bowl for the Packers, IMO. Tom Brady has a stellar 100-0 (I think, could be wrong) second game against the Jets when his O-line holds 'em off... and has arguably the worst game of 2010/11 when they can't. Peyton Manning goes from Super Bowl to, again, one-and-out when his O-line can't protect him anymore.
And that's just for the QB. We have the best RB in the game with a solid backup to boot... and let's not forget Percy Harvin's tendency to occasionally run all over the place. In reality, our running game should be our offensive backbone that takes us right through the playoffs, with (again) that Percy guy and Sydney Rice going ahead and tearing up the deeper field because the opposing D is too scared about the run. But that can't and won't happen when the O-line gives them nothing to run through, and becomes as much of a roadblock for AD as the opposing D-line.
And of course it all will come down again to... the team that scores the most wins the game. The Jets and the Bears made valiant defensive efforts against their respective foes, but because their offenses failed to dig them out of the holes dug in the first halves, neither managed the epic come-from-behind win that seemes so possible with minutes left on the clock. Our defense can't spend 45 minutes on the field because our offense can't get a first down... and again, it all comes down to the O-line.
I am a firm believer in the fact that a quarterback's success is 80% on those guys. Good quarterbacks behind a great line can do wonders with mediocre recievers- look at the Patriots' success in the 2000's. And again, compare (IMO) the best quarterback in the game today's recent season (BTW I'm talking about Peyton Manning). For him, it was atrocious. And he has good recievers, no less.
So- while the Vikings desperately need their QBOTF, a franchise man, who can take us all the way again and again, FIRST we gotta patch up that O-line. As outlined earlier, I strongly believe we can fix things up with just one guard. (Again, this is based off the very, very weak assumption that McKinnie will stop being a lazy fat arse. One more season bub, that's all you got to win us back over. And that's only because we don't have a third rounder anymore.)
I say we can wait on QB for a season if necessary. Get the stop-gap veteran, let's see what Webb's got. Hell, go after Vince Young, give him a two-season contract to prove he's not going to be a man-child anymore. Andrew Luck's coming up in the next draft, maybe we can sell the farm to get the #1 spot for him, should that be the necessity at the time. But for now, in this upcoming draft, with questionable-at-best quarterbacks, I say we spend #12 on a guard.
Who? Dunno! I don't follow college ball enough to answer that question. (I'm not looking at mock drafts to judge, they're 50% correct for the most part.) Let's hear some ideas on THAT in the comments below. But for now- what say you, my faithful Viking fandom brethren? #12 on a guard? #12 on another O-line position? #12 on a quarterback- DO IT NOW! mentality? Or #12 on a whole 'nother position altogether (safety, corner, etc.)?